When we were talking about the setting’s magic and cosmology, we decided that the Gods had once been more active and communicative, but were no longer, and that’s one of the reasons why there are so many monsters running around tearing up the countryside. Let’s expound upon that a little. The History of History Just to be clear, what we’re dealing with here is what’s actually happened, not how it’s remembered. Remembered history, oral or written, is a matter of culture. Different people may have more or less accurate recollections of what’s happened. The Elves are probably the closest, though the Dwarves keep the bestRead More →

Before the apocalypse Chicago was organized into 77 community areas, each of which contained multiple neighborhoods. This division is useful to us in designing our version of it, because it allows us to parcel our information out in manageable chunks. As our PCs move through the city, we can use these areas and neighborhoods to tell them where they are, without having to track them block by block, street by street, building by building. That’s a lot of work. What’s in an area? We could just jump into our first area and start brainstorming, but there’s a better and more systemic way to go aboutRead More →

The way that languages are presented in a lot of FRPGs has always bothered me. Intellectually I understand that they’re playable abstractions, that the players usually don’t care, that it really doesn’t matter, but emotionally I’m still attached to the way that linguistics actually work, how mutable language is, and how they impact the very way we think. A Common Tongue Historically, yes, there have been pidgin and trade languages used by those who frequently interact with other cultures, but they’re a lot more limited than presented in fantasy gaming fiction, and they don’t really “solve” the problem… each pidgin is itself a language. IfRead More →

We have our Adventurers, and we have Dungeons for them to cavort around it. In describing them we’ve sort of implied a context for the rest of the setting. Let’s run through that quickly. Adventurers are a known and specific class of generally powerful individuals known to cause problems as often as they solve them. Anyone can potentially become an Adventurer, but few do, owing to the effort involved in uprooting your life and the general lethality of Adventuring. The landscape is littered with dungeons of great danger and potential financial reward. Many of these dungeons are ancient ruins. There was an ancient advanced ElvenRead More →

A setting’s magic and cosmology are usually tightly related. Let’s deal with that. Miracles are Everywhere The first question we should concern ourselves with is, “how common is magic?” Let’s say, “pretty common.” Not so much that everybody’s a wizard, but maybe everybody knows one. Everybody has an idea of what magic is even if they don’t know how it works. Powerful magic is correspondingly more rare, but so is high skill in every endeavor. We don’t want it so common that magic isn’t special, but nobody gets burned as a witch for lighting a candle from across the room. Magic helps a little withRead More →

The tradition of the Dungeon Keepers is an ancient one, at least as old as Adventuring itself, grown out of the tendencies for communities to grow around serving the needs of Adventurers. The Role of the Keeper Dungeon Keepers’ ultimate goal is to maximize the income Adventurers spread around their communities. Generally this entails: Attracting Adventurers to the Site The simplest way to attract adventurers is to simply send word to the local Adventurers’ Guild. The Guildmaster will generally work with the Keeper to make sure that the company sends Adventurers suited to the task. Skilled, but not so capable that they clear the siteRead More →

Source Photo: Migrant Workers of China by 枫彩

Adventuring is big business, dealing routinely in sums otherwise the province of small nations and nationwide merchant companies. This can have an inflationary effect on communities as adventuring companies pass through, spending more in a fortnight than would otherwise be spent in a season. Places where adventurers congregate develop specialized economies catering to the needs of adventurers with goods and services not generally required in common society. Hirelings One industry that has grown up in the periphery of adventurers is that of the hireling. These are individuals who lack the stomach, skills, or will to be adventurers themselves, but who are brave enough to accompanyRead More →

When a new dungeon is discovered, merchants and craftsmen who specialize in providing goods and services to Adventurers will flock to the area, followed by merchants and craftsmen catering to the first group of entrepreneurs. These men and women will either swell the population of an existing settlement in the event that one exists within a day’s travel. If not, they will establish a semi-permanent camp of their own. Both cases are generally referred to as ‘Boomtowns.’ What a Boomtown Offers There are, generally, two classes of service offered in a Boomtown; those geared towards Adventurers, and those provided for the entrepreneurs. Prices are generallyRead More →

Dungeons in Practice Contrary to expectations, Adventure sites – Dungeons – are very rarely discovered by Adventurers. Most of the time they’re stumbled upon by some hapless hunter, or livestock start disappearing, or the local wizard stops coming into town for supplies. Whatever the cause and whatever the nature of a Dungeon, Adventurers typically encounter it late in the site’s lifecycle. Commoners are usually the first point of contact, for good or for ill. A farmer turns up a strange cave in their field, something tunnels into the basement of an inn, a woodsman discovers a tower that wasn’t there last season. Sometimes investigation ofRead More →